What is Stronger Participation?
In the Federal Budget 2017-18, the Australian Government announced the Working Age Payments Reforms. Stronger Participation is part of those reforms.
Under Stronger Participation, from 20 September 2018 there are changes to the participation requirements for job seekers on income support aged 30 to 49 and aged 55 to the Age Pension age.
What exactly is changing?
The changes that apply from 20 September 2018 are:
- Annual activity requirements for jobactive job seekers aged 30 to 49 who have been on payment for more than 12 months will increase from 30 hours per fortnight to 50 hour per fortnight. This aligns with requirements for younger job seekers.
- Job seekers aged 55 to 59—who have been receiving an unemployment payment for less than 12 months—can undertake 30 hours per fortnight of paid work or a combination of volunteer and paid work (of which at least 15 of hours will need to be in paid work) as an alternative to undertaking activities such as looking for work or attending appointments with an employment services provider.
- Annual activity requirements of 10 hours per fortnight will be introduced for those jobactive jobseekers aged between 60 and the Age Pension age who have been on payment for more than 12 months.
Why the changes?
The changes for job seekers aged 30-49 align their participation requirements with those of job seekers aged under 30.
The changes for mature age job seekers recognise that older Australians have a lot of experience and skills to offer, and these changes will encourage more job seekers to undertake activities to improve their employment prospects.
How will this help job seekers?
As a result of increased participation requirements, job seekers will join in more activities, training and work experience opportunities, keeping them connected, building their networks, and assisting them into the labour market.
What sorts of activities will mature age job seekers be doing?
Activities can include training, study, Work for the Dole activities, work experience through the National Work Experience Programme, Career Transition Assistance, accredited language, literacy and numeracy training or voluntary work.
Who does this affect?
On 20 September 2018, the changes will affect approximately:
- 30–49 years: 32,000 job seekers
- 50–59 years: 900 job seekers
- 60+ years: 6,000 job seekers
Affected job seekers are being guided through the transition by their employment services provider, or—for 55-59 year old job seekers—the Department of Human Services.
Read more about the changes to participation requirements.